the ecstacy of st teresa was created by
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is a white marble sculpture that was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini was considered one of the great sculptors of his day. The sculpture was commissioned by a Venetian Cardinal and was completed in 1652. It currently rests in Santa Maria della Vittoria Church in Rome, Italy. The sculpture depicts Saint Teresa of Ávila and is widely regarded as a masterpiece among Roman Baroque sculptures.
To fully understand this sculpture it is necessary to understand its relation to the entire church where it is located. It is actually the center of a complete composition that consists of sculpture, painting, and even architecture- all of which was created by Bernini himself. Everything from the dark columns which make the sculpture look brighter to the stained glass windows which illuminate and add to the story work together to form one complete artistic whole.
To which a French diplomat reputedly responded: “If this is divine love, I know all about it.”
Freudian interpretations aside, the Catholic church has celebrated the sculpture, which is captioned “Mother of Spirituality” and widely praised as a religious masterpiece. Its presence in the transept of Santa Maria Della Vittoria church in Rome has made the church one of the city’s most popular sites for weddings.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Teresa, 1645–52, (Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome).
Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker provide a description, historical perspective, and analysis of Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa.
To formalize and “authenticate” the scene as a genuine spiritual experience approved by the Catholic Church, Bernini added two groups of “witnesses” carved in life-size relief sculpture to either side of Tereasa. The first group, composed of four male members of the Cornaro family, is located to the left of the altar as if in a box at the theatre. A second group, consisting of male representatives of church and state are located to the right.
The sculpture of Saint Teresa actually consists of two figures, sculpted in white marble: Teresa herself, shown lying on a cloud, and an angel standing above her, holding a golden spear pointed at Teresa’s heart.
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (alternatively Saint Teresa in Ecstasy or Transverberation of Saint Teresa; in Italian: L’Estasi di Santa Teresa or Santa Teresa in estasi) is the central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. It was designed and completed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the leading sculptor of his day, who also designed the setting of the Chapel in marble, stucco and paint. It is generally considered to be one of the sculptural masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque. It depicts Teresa of Ávila.
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.